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  • Thank God for the New Atheists! | Thank God For Evolution
    they are helping religious people like me get real about God guidance and good news and also because of how they are prodding religion and humanity to mature in two absolutely essential ways For those interested I discuss these two ways briefly on this 3 minute YouTube clip and more thoroughly in this 20 minute sermon Re how I see the New Atheists playing a vital role in the evolution of religion the resources I particularly recommend are the following text of my sermon on the subject two online audio recordings which bookend my nine month cancer saga and a video of my sermon delivered on August 1 2010 in Oklahoma City SERMON TEXT Thank God for the New Atheists I deliver my sermons extemporaneously so this is a template not a word for word transcript I suggest reading this sermon first before expriencing any of the other resources that follow PODCAST The New Atheists As God s Prophets September 6 2009 25 minute podcast that I recorded just two hours after I learned that I had an especially aggressive form of cancer I asked myself If I have only one message left to deliver to the world what would it be The answer that came Show people how the New Atheists are God s prophets SERMON AUDIO The New Atheists As God s Prophets June 6 2010 20 minute recording of a sermon I delivered at People s Church in Ludington Michigan just days before learning that my cancer was in remission after 6 rounds of R CHOP chemotherapy last fall and having my spleen with large tumor attached surgically removed in February SERMON VIDEO The New Atheists Are God s Prophets delivered 8 1 10 at Mayflower UCC in Okhlahoma City OK For those wishing to explore this

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2045 (2016-04-30)
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  • Three of My Best Sermons | Thank God For Evolution
    Here are audio and or video recordings of my three most recent sermons all delivered on the west coast of Michigan and each very different My publicist likes the first most recent one best Connie s favorite is the one I delivered in Ludington on Memorial Day I m quite pleased with them all Evolutionize Your Life Heaven Is Coming Home to Reality June 13 2010 I say some very radical things including introducing the idea of the New Atheists as God s prophets and saying nothing is driving young people away from religion more quickly and surely than the Bible to this rather large Christian congregation in conservative western Michigan To my shock and amazement I was applauded I see this as a very good sign The New Atheists As God s Prophets June 6 2010 This was the first time that a church People s Church in Ludington Michigan specifically requested that I preach on this topic one I m feeling especially called to speak and write about these days It was very well received Deep Time Memory and Gratitude May 30 1010 Connie claims this is my best sermon ever delivered on Memorial Day weekend I m

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2034 (2016-04-30)
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  • Good and Bad Reasons for Believing, by Richard Dawkins | Thank God For Evolution
    or untrue as the original story was If you make up a story that isn t true handing it down over a number of centuries doesn t make it any truer Most people in England have been baptized into the Church of England but this is only one of the branches of the Christian religion There are other branches such as Russian Orthodox the Roman Catholic and the Methodist churches They all believe different things The Jewish religion and the Muslim religion are a bit more different still and there are different kinds of Jews and of Muslims People who believe even slightly different things from each other often go to war over their disagreements So you might think that they must have some pretty good reasons evidence for believing what they believe But actually their different beliefs are entirely due to different traditions Let s talk about one particular tradition Roman Catholics believe that Mary the mother of Jesus was so special that she didn t die but was lifted bodily into Heaven Other Christian traditions disagree saying that Mary did die like anybody else These other religions don t talk about her much and unlike Roman Catholics they don t call her the Queen of Heaven The tradition that Mary s body was lifted into Heaven is not a very old one The Bible says nothing about how or when she died in fact the poor woman is scarcely mentioned in the Bible at all The belief that her body was lifted into Heaven wasn t invented until about six centuries after Jesus time At first it was just made up in the same way as any story like Snow White was made up But over the centuries it grew into a tradition and people started to take it seriously simply because the story had been handed down over so many generations The older the tradition became the more people took it seriously It finally was written down as an official Roman Catholic belief only very recently in 1950 when I was the age you are now But the story was no more true in 1950 than it was when it was first invented six hundred years after Mary s death I ll come back to tradition at the end of my letter and look at it in another way But first I must deal with the two other bad reasons for believing in anything authority and revelation Authority as a reason for believing something means believing in it because you are told to believe it by somebody important In the Roman Catholic Church the pope is the most important person and people believe he must be right just because he is the pope In one branch of the Muslim religion the important people are the old men with beards called ayatollahs Lots of young Muslims are prepared to commit murder purely because the ayatollahs in a faraway country tell them to When I say that it was only in 1950 that Roman Catholics were finally told that they had to believe that Mary s body shot off to Heaven what I mean is that in 1950 the pope told people that they had to believe it That was it The pope said it was true so it had to be true Now probably some of the things that that pope said in his life were true and some were not true There is no good reason why just because he was the pope you should believe everything he said any more than you believe everything that other people say The present pope 1995 has ordered his followers not to limit the number of babies they have If people follow this authority as slavishly as he would wish the results could be terrible famines diseases and wars caused by overcrowding Of course even in science sometimes we haven t seen the evidence ourselves and we have to take somebody else s word for it I haven t with my own eyes seen the evidence that light travels at a speed of 186 000 miles per second Instead I believe books that tell me the speed of light This looks like authority But actually it is much better than authority because the people who wrote the books have seen the evidence and anyone is free to look carefully at the evidence whenever they want That is very comforting But not even the priests claim that there is any evidence for their story about Mary s body zooming off to Heaven The third kind of bad reason for believing anything is called revelation If you had asked the pope in 1950 how he knew that Mary s body disappeared into Heaven he would probably have said that it had been revealed to him He shut himself in his room and prayed for guidance He thought and thought all by himself and he became more and more sure inside himself When religious people just have a feeling inside themselves that something must be true even though there is no evidence that it is true they call their feeling revelation It isn t only popes who claim to have revelations Lots of religious people do It is one of their main reasons for believing the things that they do believe But is it a good reason Suppose I told you that your dog was dead You d be very upset and you d probably say Are you sure How do you know How did it happen Now suppose I answered I don t actually know that Pepe is dead I have no evidence I just have this funny feeling deep inside me that he is dead You d be pretty cross with me for scaring you because you d know that an inside feeling on its own is not a good reason for believing that a whippet is dead You need evidence We all have inside feelings from time to time and

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/1950 (2016-04-30)
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  • Doomsayers Beware, a Bright Future Beckons | Thank God For Evolution
    with our mysteriously successful debut What made Homo sapiens so special Dr Ridley argues that it wasn t our big brain because Neanderthals had a big brain too Nor was it our willingness to help one another because apes and other social animals also had an instinct for reciprocity At some point Dr Ridley writes after millions of years of indulging in reciprocal back scratching of gradually increasing intensity one species and one alone stumbled upon an entirely different trick Adam gave Oz an object in exchange for a different object The evidence for this trick is in perforated seashells from more than 80 000 years ago that ended up far from the nearest coast an indication that inlanders were bartering to get ornamental seashells from coastal dwellers Unlike the contemporary Neanderthals who apparently relied just on local resources those modern humans could shop for imports The extraordinary promise of this event was that Adam potentially now had access to objects he did not know how to make or find and so did Oz Dr Ridley writes People traded goods services and most important knowledge creating a collective intelligence Ten individuals could know between them ten things while each understanding one As they specialized and exchanged humans learned how to domesticate crops and animals and sell food to passing merchants Traders congregated in the first cities and built ships that spread goods and ideas around the world The Phoenician merchants who sailed the Mediterranean were denounced by Hebrew prophets like Isaiah and Greek intellectuals like Homer But trading networks enabled the ancient Greeks to develop their alphabet mathematics and science and later fostered innovation in the trading hubs of the Roman Empire India China Arabia Renaissance Italy and other European capitals Rulers like to take credit for the advances during their reigns and scientists like to see their theories as the source of technological progress But Dr Ridley argues that they ve both got it backward traders wealth builds empires and entrepreneurial tinkerers are more likely to inspire scientists than vice versa From Stone Age seashells to the steam engine to the personal computer innovation has mostly been a bottom up process Forget wars religions famines and poems for the moment Dr Ridley writes This is history s greatest theme the metastasis of exchange specialization and the invention it has called forth the creation of time You can appreciate the timesaving benefits through a measure devised by the economist William D Nordhaus how long it takes the average worker to pay for an hour of reading light In ancient Babylon it took more than 50 hours to pay for that light from a sesame oil lamp In 1800 it took more than six hours of work to pay for it from a tallow candle Today thanks to the countless specialists producing electricity and compact fluorescent bulbs it takes less than a second That technological progress though was sporadic Innovation would flourish in one trading hub for a while but then

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2005 (2016-04-30)
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  • Is This the Meaning of Life? - John Stewart | Thank God For Evolution
    and larger scale Self replicating molecular processes were organised into the first simple cells Communities of these simple prokaryotic cells formed the more complex eukaryotic cell Collections of these formed multicellular organisms and organisms were organised into cooperative societies A similar sequence appears to have unfolded in human evolution from family groups to bands to tribes to agricultural communities and city states to nations and so on This trajectory has applied regardless of whether evolution proceeds by gene based natural selection or cultural processes It is driven by the potential at all levels of organisation for cooperative teams united by common goals to be more successful than isolated individuals Cooperation trumps selfishness Mainstream biology has been slow to accept that evolution moves towards increasing cooperation The view has been that selfishness rather than cooperation is favoured by evolution But this objection has been overcome in the past two decades by a large body of research on the evolution of cooperation In short this research shows that complex cooperation will emerge among self interested individuals if they are organised so that they benefit from their cooperative acts and if free riders and other non cooperators are restrained or punished Crucially this removes any conflict between self interest and cooperation Readers interested in a more detailed discussion of why biologists have been so slow to accept that there is a direction to evolution should read my pre press article for the journal Foundations of Science Where will evolution go from here Extrapolating the trajectory into the future is reasonably straightforward at least initially The next major transition on Earth would be the emergence of a sustainable and cooperative global society As with cooperatives at all other levels the global society would curb internal conflict and destructive competition including war and pollution Past transitions demonstrate how this might be organised Universal trajectory Extrapolating the trajectory further would see the continued expansion of the scale of cooperative organisation out into the solar system and beyond Wherever possible this expansion would be likely to occur through cooperative linkage with other living processes rather than by empire building The possibility of life arising elsewhere seems high and while the details of evolution on other planets are likely to differ the general form of the evolutionary trajectory would be universal If the trajectory continued in this way the scale of cooperative organisation would expand throughout the universe comprised of living processes and intelligence from multiple origins As it increased in intelligence and scale its command over matter energy and other resources would also expand as would its power to achieve whatever objectives it chose What might organised life and intelligence do with this increasing power One possible answer was developed as an attempt to solve the fine tuning problem the enigma of why the fundamental laws and parameters of the universe seem to be fine tuned to support the emergence of life with even slight changes leading to a universe in which life is unlikely to emerge

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2017 (2016-04-30)
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  • Biblical Christianity Is Bankrupt | Thank God For Evolution
    we have collectively learned ever more about the natural the supernatural has become ever less After all supernatural and un natural are synonyms Anything supposedly supernatural is by definition unnatural And most people find unnatural relatively uninspiring when they really stop and think about it It should not surprise us that young people en masse are turning their backs on religion and that atheists are riding bestseller lists when the gospel God s great news for humanity is imagined as this An unnatural king who occasionally engages in unnatural acts sends his unnatural son to Earth in an unnatural way He s born an unnatural birth lives an unnatural life performs unnatural deeds and is killed and unnaturally rises from the dead in order to redeem humanity from an unnatural curse brought about by an unnaturally talking snake After 40 days of unnatural appearances he unnaturally zooms off to heaven to return to his unnatural father sit on an unnatural throne and unnaturally judge the living and the dead If you profess to believe in all this unnatural activity you and your fellow believers get to spend an unnaturally long time in an unnaturally boring paradise while everyone else suffers an unnatural torturous hell forever Excerpt from my sermon Thank God for the New Atheists Personalizing a Natural God Dr Mohler in reading my book and blog claims that I reject the notion of a personal God Given his traditional sense of a personal God I do not fault him for that conclusion Here however I wish to offer an alternate and I assert a fuller and more compelling sense of what a personal God could entail in our modern evolutionary world St Thomas Aquinas one of Christianity s most celebrated theologians warned 750 years ago A mistake about Creation will necessarily result in a mistake about God What this means is that the more we learn about the nature of the universe if we re not also updating what we mean when we use the word God we may have understandings of the divine that are so out of touch with reality as to no longer be life giving perhaps even requiring a book like The God Delusion to be written to remind us of this fact Specifically we ve been thinking of God in unnatural and therefore trivial ways for far too long In a few thousand year old universe where heaven was just a few hundred miles skyward the God portrayed in much of the Bible made sense None of us not even the most fundamentalist here in America lives in that kind of universe anymore The Hubble Space Telescope makes the distance scales and configurations used in the Bible metaphorical at best Rather we now can celebrate a God that is no less real ancient majestic and powerful than the cosmos itself and no more inclined than the cosmos to take sides in matters of war weather or geological upheaval Given the vastness and age and mysteries of the universe as we now know it to insist that the Creator is divorced from and less real than Creation is to not only dishonor God but to relegate the divine to the ever contracting realm of that which is not yet known Darwin didn t kill God To the contrary he and Alfred Russel Wallace offered the first glimpse of the real Creator behind and beyond the world s myriad mythic portrayals of the divine As Joseph Campbell Huston Smith Paul Tillich Rudolf Bultmann and other 20th century scholars of mythology and world religions remind us we simply cannot understand religion and religious differences if we ignore the human propensity to relationalize that is personify anything important or mysterious Evidence from a wide range of disciplines from cognitive neuroscience to anthropology to cross cultural study of the world s myths and religions all support the claim that God is a personification not a person and that we instinctually forget this More there is no counter evidence This fact alone makes sense of the thousands of competing stories around the world as to what God supposedly said or did God is a mythic name for Reality in all its sublime fullness Any so called God that is imagined as less than this is unworthy of our devotion and deserves to be mocked as the New Atheists so readily do Poseidon was not the god of the oceans as if some supernatural entity separate from water were looking down from on high or rising from the deep Poseidon was the personification of the incomprehensibly powerful and capricious seas Sol was not the spirit of the sun as if there were a separation between the two Sol was a sacred name for that seemingly eternal life giving source of heat and light and occasionally life taking source in times of desperate drought By saying Sol Helios or some other proper name our ancestors experienced that reality as a Thou to be related to Today most of us have a starkly different subjective experience We look up and say the sun and think of it in a depersonalized way not as the God Helios but as the generator of the element helium through stellar nucleosynthesis Such an intellectual gain need not however come at an emotional loss Again my relationship with the Sun as with all of reality is personal Whenever any story or any scriptural passage claims God said this or God did that what follows is always necessarily an interpretation It s an interpretation of what some person or group of people thought or felt or sensed or wished Reality was saying or doing and almost always as justification after the fact or to make a theological point There is no compelling evidence that such subjectively meaningful claims are ever objective measurable truth In other words had CNN or ABC News been there to record the moment of divine revelation there most likely would have been nothing out of

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2070 (2016-04-30)
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  • Evolution as Meaningful, Inspiring Fact | Thank God For Evolution
    Evolution Education wiki The Great Story leading Epic of Evolution educational website ACCLAIMED BOOKS REVEALING COMPELLING EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION Science Evolution and Creationism National Academy of Sciences The Greatest Show on Earth The Evidence for Evolution Richard Dawkins Evolution vs Creationism An Introduction Eugenie C Scott The Counter Creationism Handbook Mark Isaak Why Evolution is True Jerry A Coyne Bones Rocks Stars The Science of When Things Happened Chris Turney Evolution What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters Donald R Prothero Remarkable Creatures Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species Sean B Carroll The Making of the Fittest DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution Sean B Carroll Before the Dawn Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors Nicholas Wade Only a Theory Evolution and the Battle for America s Soul Kenneth R Miller Why Darwin Matters The Case Against Intelligent Design Michael Shermer FINDING DEEP MEANING AND INSPIRATION IN AN EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW The Empathic Civilization Jeremy Rifkin The View from the Center of the Universe Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams Green Space Green Time The Way of Science Connie Barlow The Sacred Depths of Nature Ursula Goodenough God After Darwin A Theology of Evolution John F Haught Evolution and Christian Faith Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist Joan Roughgarden The Rational Optimist How Prosperity Evolves Matt Ridley The Universe Story From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry The Dream of the Earth The Great Work and Evening Thoughts Thomas Berry The Universe is a Green Dragon and Canticle to the Cosmos DVDs Brian Swimme Nature s Magic Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind and Holistic Darwinism Peter Corning Evolution for Everyone How Darwin s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives David Sloan Wilson Not By Genes Alone How Culture Transformed Human Evolution Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd The Symbiotic Man A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future Joel de Rosnay Out of Control The New Biology of Machines Social Systems the Economic World Kevin Kelly A Theory of Everything An Integral Vision for Business Politics Science and Spirituality Ken Wilber Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution Steve McIntosh World as Lover World as Self and Coming Back to Life Joanna Macy Humanity The Chimpanzees Who Would Be Ants Russell Genet Conscious Evolution Awakening Our Social Potential Barbara Marx Hubbard Promise Ahead A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity s Future Duane Elgin Thank God for Evolution How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World Michael Dowd EMERGENCE LIFE S TRAJECTORY COMPLEXITY S ARROW CONVERGENT PARALLEL EVOLUTION Evolutionary Perspective webpage Introduction to Evolutionary Spirituality webpage Let There Be Sight A Celebration of Convergent Evolution pdf by Connie Barlow This Fleeting World A Short History of Humanity David Christian Maps of Time An Introduction to Big History David Christian Big History The Big Bang Life on Earth and the

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/1520 (2016-04-30)
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  • User account | Thank God For Evolution
    of the Universe Home The Book Introduction Nobel Endorsements The Author Author s Promises Free Chapter Audiobook Table of Contents Study Guides FAQ Resources The Great Story Huffington Post Blog News Recent Archives Blog Recent Archives Huffington Post Blog Get Involved Evangelize Posters Flyers Donate Testimonials Subscribe Study Guides Media Audio Video Flyers Posters Schedule Store The Great Story Search Create new account Log in Request new password Username Enter

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